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Zamani Flamenco at The Upstage in Port Townsend

posted in performance on july 19th, 2008

Here’s a "fun fact" about Port Townsend: "Local legend has it that Port Townsend was once a dumping ground for the indigenous people’s insane and infirm. Many people (especially those involved in city politics) say this is rather fitting."

Well, the politics I can’t speak to, but luckily for the Zamani Flamenco crew and I (and for Port Townsend, I suppose), this is evidently one tradition that hasn’t been preserved with much vigilance in culture and entertainment circles. On our recent trek there, we found the Port Townsiends (Port Townies? Port Townsendites?) to be both quite sane and quite … um … "firm" … .

Right. Anyway—and much more importantly: a number of PTers were also keen on having a flamenco show in their midst. The venue that had us out (as a careful observer of embedded pictures might have already surmised) is called The Upstage and is arguably a central feature of Port Townsend’s quite respectable local music scene. They have live music almost every night of the week and a truly superb performance space (right smack in the middle of the restaurant and surrounded by balconies on three sides).

Space and place aside, this show was a milestone for us: it was the first time, as a trio, that we’ve played a full two sets and been "the whole show." This was very cool, of course. But it also meant that we weren’t going to get away with doing a sevillanas, a tangos, a bulerias and then heading off to The Two Bells (a.k.a. the Belltown Flamenco Hangout Extraordinaire (a.k.a. the BFHE)) for drinks. No, no—two sets means ninety minutes.

And ninety minutes of music meant a fundamental shift in the way we structured rehearsals leading up to this show. Instead of having the luxury of being able to go over eight bars of music thirty times (okay, fine: ten times) until we got just the nuance we wanted, we had to crash through arrangements enough to get the gist and then move on. One would think that the primary result of this would simply be a lack of polish, but, while some numbers still have some kinks to be worked out, what I noticed most of all was that the longer performance allowed us to get "into the groove" and really create an atmosphere of flamenco (as opposed to what had heretofore been more akin to a "spectacle" of flamenco among other types of dance and music).

And what’s more, the two set mark has been met: we now have a full show worth of material, which means that now we can really get after a.) polishing and b.) building out our repertoire (though at a less insane rate). (Actually, I should say "a full show plus"—we hadn’t quite factored banter time into the set lengths. This will be hard for you to believe, I know, but one of us—I’m not saying who—has a tendency to insert introductions, anecdotes, and other errata in between songs. Who knew?)

But Andy, you say, where are the videos? So much talk! So little Web 2.0. Yes, I admit it—guilty as charged. But you’ll have to wait another day or two. Here’s why: because we’ve a.) been building floors again and b.) have another show in two days. [Incidentally, c.) Andy appears to be into "x.)"—format lists today. And he’s not entirely sure he can explain why.] Anyway, the upshot is this: I haven’t yet had time to format and upload the Upstage vids. Soon, soon. [Further incidentals: d.) the newest floor {cf. "a.)" above} is of the portable variety. Never again will we be bested by carpeted stages!!]

In any case, why would you want some fuzzy, compressed videos when you could come see in-the-flesh flamenco at The Northside Grill this Thursday (July 24th)? We’ll be doing a full show with (already!) some new material and guest vocals by Stephanie Hughes. Music will start at 8:30 and go on at least until 10:00. Check out www.zamaniflamenco.com for more details. And then check back here for a full and tangent-prone account of the evening.

And there you have it. Now go play!

And then come and see Zamani Flamenco at The Northside!

~A

tags: zamani
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